Thursday, April 23, 2009

Preventing Ministry Failure

I have just returned home from the annual BGCT Ministers of Education Retreat held April 20-22 at Tapatio Springs near Boerne. It was a great time of fellowship with ministers from around the state and the program was highly practical and helpful.
I would consider this event a “must attend” annual experience for Ministers of Education in Texas.

The primary program guest was Brad Hoffman who is the Senior Pastor of the Memorial Baptist Church in Baytown. Brad used his sessions to overview his 2007 book co-authored by Michael Todd Wilson entitled Preventing Ministry Failure.

I cannot overstate how valuable this book would be for any minister! Many of these insights would have been so helpful to me early in my ministry before I learned them the hard way, by trial and error with an emphasis on error.

Get the book and do the exercises! And check out their website to learn more about how they are helping ministers. Here is a little information from their website:

Brad Hoffman and Michael Todd Wilson have recently completed a workbook for ministers which is the basis for all of the Practicing ShepherdCare three-day conferences. Preventing Ministry Failure is a very practical “field manual” that takes ministers step-by-step toward creating their own tailor-made plan for self-care and helping them ensure long-term effectiveness in ministry.

The Preventing Ministry Failure workbook is the first resource of its kind in many regards:

Created by men who work with force-terminated ministers: Each of the seven Foundation Stones were observed by the authors as a critical point of failure in men with whom they directly worked in pastoral restoration ministry. These are real solutions which, if those still in ministry will apply them, will significantly improve the quality and long-term effectiveness of their ministries.

Addresses all the major problems in ministry in a single volume: Many books are available for ministers dealing with one of the seven topics addressed in our workbook; however, there is no other text on the market which addresses all of them in one centralized text.

Will be readily applicable to ministers in the field: Our ultimate goal is to have ministers apply the seven Foundation Stones to themselves and their respective ministries. In addition, our workbook format does not as easily allow ministers to "intellectualize" what they are reading (which, unfortunately, they frequently do with other books). Instead, our workbook prioritizes the application of what is being taught through the use of artful questions and space for personal reflection. We desire ministers to care for themselves first, then to care for their people. This is the only way ministers can have all they need to effectively shepherd their people as God intended.

The workbook has one introductory chapter, followed by seven chapters called "Foundation Stones". These represent the seven key areas of focus to build upon for long-term effectiveness in ministry. They are the need for: (1) INTIMACY in relationships; (2) CALLING (understanding of); (3) STRESS MANAGEMENT; (4) healthy and godly BOUNDARIES; (5) RE-CREATION; (6) PEOPLE SKILLS; and (7) LEADERSHIP SKILLS.

Each of the workbook’s eight chapters/Foundation Stones is divided into five sections, creating 40 self-contained studies and engaging the minister in a systematic journey through the workbook. This makes our material suitable for individual study, group accountability or seminary classroom work.

Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!